What does the UK Geospatial Standards Register mean for you?

This month has seen the Government take some positive steps forward to ensure the wider adoption of standards to drive interoperability, collaboration and economic benefit from Public Sector Data.

First up, the Geospatial Commission announced the publication of the UK Geospatial Standards Register. This will help make data findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable through adherence to the FAIR data principles. Organisations that adopt the standard will:

  • Ensure UK geospatial data is more consistent, coherent and usable across a wider range of systems
  • Empower the UK geospatial community to become more engaged with the relevant standards and standards bodies
  • Advocate the understanding and use of geospatial data standards within other sectors of government

The register contains standards for geospatial identifiers, metadata, data format, data content, coordinate reference systems and coordinate reference system transformation.

Secondly, the Department for Levelling Up has summarised the steps it is taking through the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill. This went before parliament for its first reading this week.

The Bill includes some measures that will allow a transformation in the use of high-quality data and modern, digital services across the planning process. These include: 

  • Powers to set common data standards and software requirements
  • Improvements to planning procedures
  • The digital transformation of planning services

We welcome the advocacy and wider adoption of Open Standards. Jo Cook, our Data Discoverability Lead, is the Standards Lead and Council Member for the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) and contributed to the UK Geospatial Standards Register through her work on the British Standards Institute IST36 committee. She comments, “Keeping up with the changing landscape of standards adoption and compliance is essential but time-consuming. We do the hard work of implementing best practice in relation to standards, so our iShare clients are free to concentrate on other tasks.”

We can confirm that iShare:

  • Utilises standards for geospatial identifiers and metadata, including using UK GEMINI v2.3 in the metadata (Data Discoverability) tooling and provision, wherever possible, and the UPRN to facilitate data linking
  • Utilises standards for geospatial data format and content, including the use of BS7666 for the exchange of address data
  • Supports GeoJSON, GeoPackage and other open formats for the exchange of geographic data
  • Utilises the OSGeo Project GDAL to ensure that coordinate reference systems and coordinate reference system transformations are implemented in an open and standards-compliant manner

We have a rich history of helping local authorities to publish planning data in standards-compliant formats. At the time of publication, over 50 local authorities use iShare to publish Local Plans and Planning Applications via their websites for citizen consumption and to publish planning consultations in line with Local Government statutory obligations. We also helped to develop and underpin the technology stack at the Surrey Planning Hub

In summary, we’ve done the hard work required to anticipate and integrate standards, so our customers don’t have to. We’re committed to keeping pace with the changing landscape of geospatial data and wider local authority FAIR data sharing projects. We’ll communicate further developments via our blog and newsletters. If you’re not already on our mailing list, you can sign up here.

This blog was written by Nick Turner, our Head of Product. You can meet Nick at our next user group in Birmingham on June 15th. Click here to find out more.

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